A public meeting has been scheduled in Clearwater to discuss recreational vehicle (R.V.) bylaws in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) after a recent press release was put out that drew the ire of many residents.
The meeting takes place on Sept. 11 at the Clearwater Elks Hall beginning at 7 p.m.
Tom Coles, who’s been designated as the spokesperson for the group Thompson Nicola R.V. Rights, said there are a few points in particular within the bylaw that have people concerned.
“The bylaw says you cannot live full-time in your R.V.,” said Coles.
“Initially, we were told this was on a complaint basis, but recently the TNRD board of directors asked the enforcement to be proactive with these bylaws, using words like crackdown and enforcement, so it’s a rather aggressive tone in which they presented this.”
It should be noted the bylaw isn’t new as it was put into effect in 1973, but another question that’s confusing to those concerned is why there hasn’t been mention of it until recently.
With the economic situation set off by mill closures in the area, Coles said people are having to live in R.V.s out necessity and residents deserve more compassionate treatment from the regional government.
Members of the Thompson-Nicola R.V. Rights group would like to see amendments made to the bylaw to make it fairer and reflect rights of rural residents and have drafted their own version with the intention to present it to the TNRD in hopes it gets adopted.
“Regina Sadilkova (director of development services for the TNRD) who spoke on behalf of the TNRD in the media claimed in their estimate they believed there to be 100 such mobiles,” Coles said.
“Now, I did a little math and the TNRD is roughly 45, 300 square km, so by their own calculations, that’s one R.V. for every 452 square km, so I fail to see how this is some kind of urgency.”
The aforementioned press release said some of the offending R.V.s have had their wheels removed and others have had modifications like decks, roofs, and utility rooms added to them, but the use of an RV as a dwelling has never been permitted in the TNRD.
Coles noted the TNRD board of directors is comprised in part by the mayors of the various cities within the TNRD who make such bylaws and force them on the rural residents, which also rubs members of his group the wrong way.
“We don’t believe that city governments should be able to tell rural people who own acreages they cannot, in an act of kindness, offer assistance by giving friends, families and neighbours a spot of land to park their RV on,” he said.